On Thursdays, we highlight an oral history featuring a health care leader who shaped the past and laid the foundation for the future. Since 1978, the AHA has conducted more than 100 interviews as part of this project, and transcripts are available in the oral history collection on the AHA’s Resource Center webpage. The following oral history with Wade Mountz comes from an interview conducted in 2008.
Wade Mountz — recognized as one of the health care field’s most highly-skilled, forward-thinking, innovative and selfless executives — served more than four decades in health care administration in Louisville, KY. Influenced by a cousin’s ability to work and live comfortably during the depression as a hospital administrator, Mountz made the decision to pursue a career in the field. After serving and returning from World War II, Mountz earned his Master’s in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1951.
Joining Norton Memorial Infirmary (now known as Norton Healthcare) in 1950 as an administrative resident, Mountz would spend the entirety of his career at the Louisville-based health system — focusing on improving health care and meeting the health needs of Kentuckians. He climbed the ranks of the organization and, in 1969, became president and CEO, or its equivalent, of Norton Memorial Infirmary, Norton Hospital, Norton – Children’s Hospitals, and NKC, Inc., a position he held until his retirement in 1988.
Mountz served on countless boards, commissions, committees and advisory groups — including serving as chair of the American Hospital Association in 1975. Honored by numerous organizations for his leadership and service, of note is his induction into the University of Kentucky College of Public Health Hall of Fame in 2007, and his induction into the Modern Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2008.
In this oral history, Mountz recounts his experience leading the merger of Norton Hospital with Children’s Hospital, helping launch the Voluntary Hospitals of America, and becoming passionate about primary and secondary education later in life — helping to reorganize the public school system in Kentucky.
To read the full oral history transcript, click here.